Monday, July 29, 2013

Pacific Rim Review

NOW This Is How You Make A Giant Robot Monster Movie!


What did I think? It was awesome and EVERYONE should see this movie in the theater! If you're using a torrent or a cheep ILLEGAL  streaming site to watch this movie(or any movie) you should be just a bit more than a tad ashamed of yourself. It was old school summer movie fun in grand, exciting fashion!
Flat out, this is my favorite movie of the summer thus far! It didn't have a silly twist like Iron Man 3, it didn't crib its entire plot from another movie in its own franchise like Star Trek, and there was a genuine concern for humanity as a whole unlike Man of Steel... the less said about World War Z the better in my opinion. It would be very easy to peg this movie as little more than Transformers VS Godzilla - you could do that, but you would be very, very wrong. This movie is so infinitely BETTER than any of the Transformers movies made so far.

Pacific Rim centers around a dimensional portal opening thousands of feet down in the Pacific Ocean. Through the portal, gigantic monsters called Kaiju - the Japanese word for Giant Monsters - came pouring through. As the world's governments battled to control these creatures, a decision was made to create our own giant monsters - huge hulking battle robots call Jaegers to hunt these creatures down and destroy them. Initially the program is met with great successes, minimizing human casualties and destroying the monsters faster. The Jaegers are piloted by two individuals through a shared mind meld called "the drift" by sharing memories and experiences the two pilots are able to anticipate each other's moves while being able to control their giant robot weapon's more effectively.

Flash forward 20 years where the film picks up and mankind is having a tougher and tougher time defeating these monsters while individual Jaegers and their drivers have become superstars and celebrities that are met with great fanfare everywhere they go. This moment also happens to be when things start to go drastically down hill. Kaiju that are bigger and stronger than any ever seen before begin pouring through the portal more frequently taxing the system beyond it's limits. It is here we meet Raleigh played by Charlie Hunnan who while on a routine mission losses his co-pilot brother to one of the largest and most formidable Kaiju ever seen before. This experience scars Raleigh and he abandons his pilot status to live in obscurity building humanity's last ditch effort - a gigantic coastal wall. Unimpressed with the decisions made by world leaders to scrap the Jaeger program, Major Pentecost  played by the always awesome Idris Elba rounds up the last great Jaegers left operating and their pilots - including Raleigh to pull off one last ditch move to close the portal and save humanity before the beasts break through the walls and wipe everyone out.

The movie is fast and loose with the action and the special effects are incredible. You never lose a sense of scale of the monsters or their robotic opponents. Written and Directed by the great Guillermo del Toro, the story never loses focus of the task at hand - providing great big loud summer spectacle fun! The story and the human drama are there only to add enough weight and importance to the next Kaiju battle. That isn't to say the characters are so paper thin they're annoying stereotypes either. Unlike the Transformers movies - every character in Pacific Rim is there to serve a purpose to the story. Sure there is the nerdy scientist duo for comic relief played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman- but they're not useless characters - they make an impact to the general story that is important! No female character is there to sit there with her rear sticking out while wearing tight shirts that highlight her breasts - these women are warriors. They are equal to their male counterparts and are just as if not more lethal.

Then you get the Kaiju themselves. If there was an area where I would have liked to see a little more variance it would be here. My only real complaint is that a lot of these beasts look like each other - which there is a plot reason for that I wont spoil - but still - when so much could have been done with them, I would have liked to have seen more. That said though, when they're on screen, they are incredible sights to see! They're big, mean, and cause a lot of damage when, where, and however they can. Because the human element is never lost, these creatures pose a real threat to humanity as a greater whole. Because every attempt to get as many people into shelters as possible is made, there is an urgency for the Jaegers and their pilots to get into action as fast as possible to deal with the problem.

Then you have the issue to see in 3D or not to see in 3D - the fast answer to that is SEE IT IN 3D! And on the LARGEST screen you can find! This is a movie meant for an XD screen or a huge IMAX theater. While it wasn't shot in 3D, you could hardly know it by looking at this movie. There is constant real depth throughout the movie, even in darker scenes that would be harder to distinguish relative position - it comes through perfectly. From the cityscape of Hong Kong, to the citizen shelters, to the Jaeger cockpits, to the Kaiju battles it is a thrill to see in 3D. The balance is fantastic, you never lose size and scope, while there aren't any annoying artifacts that fly out of the screen to stress your eyes, you just feel like that big monster is in the room with you and that makes this 3D conversion a gigantic success in my book. I put the 3D presentation up there with Avatar as among the best so far.

This is what summer movies are meant to be. Throughout the summer so far there has been this push for big spectacle at the sacrifice of human story. This was the movie that should have paved the way for the summer movie season, sadly, by the time of it's release it was a victim of destruction fatigue. While it may not have lit up the boxoffice here in the states, it seems to have found a fantastic life overseas so I hope this is a rousing success enough to if not warrant a sequel - then to shame American audiences for staying away from this movie. I also have to pin blame on a lackluster marketing campaign that did little to distinguish this movie from any of the Transformers movies. That said, get to ANY theater still showing this if you haven't seen it already! You owe it to yourself to see this on the big screen, it doesn't matter if no 3D showings are left - GO SEE IT!

In the End: 10/10 this has been the absolute best movie I've seen this summer. 
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